or Connect
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Pastries & Baking › Halving Bread Recipes
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Halving Bread Recipes

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Did a quick search to see if there were any posts on halving bread recipes, didn't find any and wasn't sure if going through the entire 180 posts would produce any.

 

Knowing that recipes are created for a reason and that you can't just cut something in half and expect the same results, looking for comments/guidance. It's just my wife and me, I can easily make more than we'll consumre.

 

Thanks!!

post #2 of 19

First off, keep in mind that bread freezes well. So any extra can be stored that way. Althernatively, you can mix a full batch of dough, and freeze half of it---which is the simplest way of halving it.

 

Otherwise it depends on your recipe source. Bread is actually baked to a formula, rather than a recipe per se. And the formulae are based on two things: weight of ingredients, rather than volume; and the percentage each ingredient amounts to as indexed against the flour. 

 

That last part often confuses people. In any bread formula, the flour is considered to be 100%. Then each ingredient is expressed as a percentage of that. For instance, lets say you have 16 ounces of flour (100%) and that dough calls for 6 ounces of water. The water component is 37.5%.

 

To halve or double or use any multiplier is, therefore, a straight mathematical problem. Half of the above example would be 8 ounces of flour and 3 ounces of water. Done that way, the relationships remain the same.

 

On the other hand, if the recipe you have uses volume measurements, any changes could throw the relationships off. That doesn't mean you'll necessary have a failure. Sometimes everything works out fine. But, taken as a whole, your failures will outnumber your successes, which can be very frustrating.

 

Equally important is the ability to measure those halved quantities. If  the above example was expressed in volume, halving it would be about 1 3/4 cups flour  and 3/16 cup water. Sort of.

 

All in all, either work with formulas and a scale, or use one of the freezing alternatives.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
Reply
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
Reply
post #3 of 19

I'm confused KY.  Halving a cup gives you half a cup.  A cup of water has an exact equivalent in weight.  If a cup of water weighs 236.588   A half a cup of water will weigh 118.294 grams.  It will always weigh 118.294 gms.  (And these picky measures tell you that when they made the recipe they rounded out the measures to make them in cups, which show you that the precision to the gram is irrelevant)

 

So what is the difference between half the weight and half the volume (of the SAME ingredient)?  if the recipe has used cups, it can be halved in cups, and if it used grams it can be halved in grams.  If it was designed using some other measure, it;s not like that measure changes when it's halved. 

 

If you want to go back to the proportions, then the proportions are made in weight and you can't substitute PROPORTIONS of weight with PROPORTIONS of volume.  But if the proportions have generated a RECIPE using volume or weight, you can half the recipe all you want. 

 

The confusion about whether you can half a recipe, tcollins,  comes in for other stuff, like cakes.  If you make a very large (wide) cake, the baking powder has to be decreased and you may have to develop a little more gluten to hold the dome up structurally.  That;s all.  And of course, the creaming will be harder if you have a small mixer. 

 

If you're doubling a recipe requiring sauteeing or browning meat, you would either need a gigantic frying pan or have to divide the quantities in two pans to get the same browning. 

But in both these cases, halving is not a problem. 

 

And bread is most forgiving.  Making it smaller will NOT affect anything.  You can go ahead and half the recipe, i've done it scores and scores of times and never  had a problem. It might be a problem for a half a loaf, only in the baking, which would probably need lower temp and surely lower time.  But what i understand you want to do is make one loaf not two.  I;ve also made rolls from bread recipes and bread from roll recipes.  Worked well in every case I tried. 

Doubling it could be a problem but not for the ingredients, simply for the mass that you would have to knead - which nevertheless could be divided up and kneaded.  But halving will not affect the result. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #4 of 19

Logically you are correct, Siduri. And I used to argue the same way. But the reality is, after too many failures, I succumed to the mathematical facts.

 

I can't explain it, because I'm not a mathematician (heck, I sometimes have trouble counting past ten with my shoes on). What I do know, pragmatically, is that when I halved volume recipes they sometimes worked and sometimes didn't. If the pros say this is because the indexed relationships change, who am I to argue with them?

 

Anyway, if I'm reading the OP correctly, the problem is merely having too much bread at one time. My approach, therefore, would be to go the freezing route. And, more than likely, I would freeze half the dough, so as to still have fresh-baked bread when wanted.

 

BTW, like you I often start with a bread recipe and turn it into buns and rolls. Or do half and half. For instance, in a typical recipe that makes two pan loaves, I might make one loaf and a dozen slider buns. But that doesn't change the recipe; just the baking time. As an aside, I have never found a bread recipe that wouldn't convert back and forth like that.  

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
Reply
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
Reply
post #5 of 19

Well, KY, I often do change to rolls or to bread, but i also very often make one instead of two loaves - many of my favorite bread-pan bread recipes are for two loaves and we are only two at home now and so now i only make one. 

 

I don't find freezing appealing :

1. because i have a small freezer, and a loaf of bread is too big - i need to save space for the weekly shopping, the meat, the coffee i can only find in a place on the other side of town, and other stuff. 

2. I think if you freeze a whole loaf and defrost it all togther, you've lowered its keeping quality.   (maybe i'm wrong here, but i wouldn't take soemthing out of the freezer and then use it as if it were fresh. so it would mean slicing it and wrapping a few slices with parchment paper between them and tigltly wrapping in plastic - not how i want to spend my day off.)

 

But i've made several bread recipes in half recipe quantities by volume,and done it very often, and they never had a problem.  I swear. 

 

I think that the fondness for weight and the reliance on proportions has made some pros jump to conclusions.  I bet they tried to apply proportions, not measures to their halving of recipes.  As for math, i never learned the tables, i count.  But i do know logic.  Maybe the recipes you tried to half either were badly halved ( as you say, not being good with numbers either...smile.gif) or more likely, maybe you didn't try them as full recipes so you didn't know how they would have come if you'd done the whole one???

 

One of the reasons for my fondness for cup measures is that they are more easily halved.  I don't need math, but just volume.  I want half of 3/4 cup?  I look at the cup, measure down half by eye and see where it comes! (If you want more precision, just put a piece of paper on the 3/4 measure, fold in half, and there you have it, fill to there!  No need for those pesky division tables, or remembering fractions and all that).  How to double 1-1/8?  Fill to 1-1/8 twice!  Just try that with 236.588 grams!  Considering myself handicapped, i found a way to function. 

 

The other thing is that if they have a recipe in cups that was originally in grams, they've certainly rounded out the measurements because i doubt very much that the original recipe calling for a cup of water was actually calling for 236.588 grams.  Which tells you there is a certain leeway. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #6 of 19

Certainly there is leeway. A lot more than many of the pros would have us believe. I've pointed out more than once that the "baking is a science of precision" argument is kind of fallacious; especially when it applies to the home baker. The relationships of liquid to dry ingredients, amount of yeast, etc. are precise only as they apply to that specific recipe. They are not cast in concrete as universal truths. If that were so, we wouldn't have so many variations on the themes.

 

The weight formulae are important to commercial bakers, who work in volume. No question about it. But the same baking authority who promotes the "weight is everything" argument tells us, in the next breath, that due to environmental factors you might have to add more or less liquid. Etc.

 

Even so, I've found that since I've started using a scale that I do get more consistent results. And as to halving or doubling numbers, well, isn't that why God gave us calculators. thumb.gif

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
Reply
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
Reply
post #7 of 19


 

Quote:

 

Even so, I've found that since I've started using a scale that I do get more consistent results. And as to halving or doubling numbers, well, isn't that why God gave us calculators. thumb.gif


 

Alas Ky, my number problems are such that i can do a sum three times with a calculator and get three different answers.  Numbers have little meaning for me, they bcould be chinese pictograms, cuneiform letters, anything, and i frequently reverse them, leading to me getting on wrong busses (175 and 715 look the same to me) and having to dial numbers several times to get them right.  So putting the figures into the calculator is as annoying as doing the addition the way i do it. 7 + 5 ... ok, seven, eight nine ten eleven twelve,.  7 + 5 = 12.    I have a visual image of dots for every number, five is four dots in a square and one in the middle - i count using that.  But time consuming.,  calculators are usually wrong when i use them.  hmmm,  I did say i was handicapped, right? 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #8 of 19

Hmmmmmm? Reminds me of the dyslexic, agnostic, insomniac who laid awake all night wondering if there really was a dog. But I digress.......lookaround.gif

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
Reply
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
Reply
post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by KYHeirloomer View Post

Hmmmmmm? Reminds me of the dyslexic, agnostic, insomniac who laid awake all night wondering if there really was a dog. But I digress.......lookaround.gif


you nailed it on all counts!

well, i usually don;t reverse words, because when you find an 'EHT" you know it';s got to be backwards, so that just pushes me off in the right direction.  Not so with a palindrome (is that what it's called?)  then i could be lost forever.

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #10 of 19


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by siduri View Post
...Not so with a palindrome (is that what it's called?)  then i could be lost forever.

Do you mean as in "Madam, I'm Adam"?
 

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 

I've never frozen dough, but am going to try this and also halving the recipe & formulae's.

 

At what point do I freeze the dough, before the first rise or at the end? Then do I defrost in the fridge and place in a warm place, then cover to rise?

post #12 of 19

Actually you can freeze it anywhere along the process.

 

Were it me, I'd divide the dough, let it proof (i.e. first rise), and freeze at that point. Easiest way is to hit the inside of a zipper bag with spray oil, add the dough (first forming it into a ball), seal and freeze.

 

The night before you need it, transfer to the fridge. Remove in the morning and transfer to an oiled bowl. Let sit until the chill is off (will take, on average, about two hours). Shape. Rise. Bake as usual.

 

BTW, don't be surprised if the second loaf tastes better. Doughs using a retarded fermentation usually do. And you'll have, in effect, used that technique.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
Reply
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
Reply
post #13 of 19


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteMcCracken View Post


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by siduri View Post
...Not so with a palindrome (is that what it's called?)  then i could be lost forever.

Do you mean as in "Madam, I'm Adam"?
 

yeah.  Though the punctuation gives me the direction visually. 

I also read and write backwards and upside down - no problem when they bring one menu, i read it across the table.  I find myself pushing doors that say "push" on the other side of the glass and wondering why they won't open, because i don't notice it's backwards.  But it came in handy in school, when i would write "Help i'm trapped behind the blackboard" backwards.

If i were a genius, i could write my scientific notebooks backwards - unfortunately, that's the only thing i share with leonardo d.v. I'm not even left-handed!
 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #14 of 19

Palindroms? You want to talk palindroms? Here ya go:

 

  • "A man, a plan, a caret, a ban, a myriad, a sum, a lac, a liar, a hoop, a pint, a catalpa, a gas, an oil, a bird, a yell, a vat, a caw, a pax, a wag, a tax, a nay, a ram, a cap, a yam, a gay, a tsar, a wall, a car, a luger, a ward, a bin, a woman, a vassal, a wolf, a tuna, a nit, a pall, a fret, a watt, a bay, a daub, a tan, a cab, a datum, a gall, a hat, a fag, a zap, a say, a jaw, a lay, a wet, a gallop, a tug, a trot, a trap, a tram, a torr, a caper, a top, a tonk, a toll, a ball, a fair, a sax, a minim, a tenor, a bass, a passer, a capital, a rut, an amen, a ted, a cabal, a tang, a sun, an ass, a maw, a sag, a jam, a dam, a sub, a salt, an axon, a sail, an ad, a wadi, a radian, a room, a rood, a rip, a tad, a pariah, a revel, a reel, a reed, a pool, a plug, a pin, a peek, a parabola, a dog, a pat, a cud, a nu, a fan, a pal, a rum, a nod, an eta, a lag, an eel, a batik, a mug, a mot, a nap, a maxim, a mood, a leek, a grub, a gob, a gel, a drab, a citadel, a total, a cedar, a tap, a gag, a rat, a manor, a bar, a gal, a cola, a pap, a yaw, a tab, a raj, a gab, a nag, a pagan, a bag, a jar, a bat, a way, a papa, a local, a gar, a baron, a mat, a rag, a gap, a tar, a decal, a tot, a led, a tic, a bard, a leg, a bog, a burg, a keel, a doom, a mix, a map, an atom, a gum, a kit, a baleen, a gala, a ten, a don, a mural, a pan, a faun, a ducat, a pagoda, a lob, a rap, a keep, a nip, a gulp, a loop, a deer, a leer, a lever, a hair, a pad, a tapir, a door, a moor, an aid, a raid, a wad, an alias, an ox, an atlas, a bus, a madam, a jag, a saw, a mass, an anus, a gnat, a lab, a cadet, an em, a natural, a tip, a caress, a pass, a baronet, a minimax, a sari, a fall, a ballot, a knot, a pot, a rep, a carrot, a mart, a part, a tort, a gut, a poll, a gateway, a law, a jay, a sap, a zag, a fat, a hall, a gamut, a dab, a can, a tabu, a day, a batt, a waterfall, a patina, a nut, a flow, a lass, a van, a mow, a nib, a draw, a regular, a call, a war, a stay, a gam, a yap, a cam, a ray, an ax, a tag, a wax, a paw, a cat, a valley, a drib, a lion, a saga, a plat, a catnip, a pooh, a rail, a calamus, a dairyman, a bater, a canal - Panama!"
  •  
  • That one has almorst 550 words, and is a take off of the classic, "A man, a plan, a canal--Panama."
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
Reply
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
Reply
post #15 of 19

Frankly, I prefer palindromes which not only read the same backwards and forwards, but which have some sort of meaning as well. Obviously, that big one's only claim to fame is the number of words. For me, gimme something like "Able was I ere I saw Elba" instead.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
Reply
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
Reply
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by tcollins View Post

I've never frozen dough, but am going to try this and also halving the recipe & formulae's.

 

At what point do I freeze the dough, before the first rise or at the end? Then do I defrost in the fridge and place in a warm place, then cover to rise?


I suggest that, you freeze it before the first rise because, when you thaw the dough it will rise as it is like your proofing it.

post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 

Interesting enough, I made a rosemary bread like they serve at Macaronni Grill this weekend. Punched the dough down, split it in two after the first rise and put into greased zip lock bags. I then set them outside to chill, as it was frigid this weekend in Philadelphia. Once they were chilled, put them into a cooler and traveled north for a couple of hours. About four hours later, pulled them out, formed loaves, let them rise and baked. Everyone love them, but for me they lacked the strong rosemary taste typical of MG's. Not sure if was the dried rosemary I used or should use fresh. Besides this, the texture and crust of the bread was great.

 

Thanks all for the information, I'll be making bread this week and freezing half for the weekend.

 

tcollins

post #18 of 19

I am very new to bread making so sorry if this is a dumb question: if I halve a bread recipe, should I halve the kneading time as well? I assume I keep the rising time the same but if there is less dough, does that mean I need to knead it less? What about baking time? I guess I can go by the look of it but it would be nice to know.   Thanks!

post #19 of 19

You should knead not by the clock but by the texture.  Knead till it gives some resistance, gets elastic, the surface is smooth (if it's all white flour, it's almost shiny). 

You knead it to develop the gluten and that always takes about the same amount of kneading, though maybe a huge ball of dough will take a little longer because it's moving less. 

Rising would be the same but again, don;t go by the clock, go by the dough.  If you press it gently with a wet finger, and it springs back completely, it's not ready.  If it leaves a depression it should be ready.

baking will depend on how big is the actual loaf.  A larger loaf will take longer for the heat to get into the center of it.  But if you double a recipe and make two loaves, the baking time is almost the same (maybe slightly more because adding two loaves will very slightly cool the oven a bit.  Again, your last and most important clue is hand and eye and ear - tap the loaf, it should sound hollow, stick a long toothpick in the middle, it should come out completely clean. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Pastries & Baking
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Pastries & Baking › Halving Bread Recipes